Consumer News

Consumer Reports seeks the best-tasting pancakes

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

IHOP brings in more money than any other family-style restaurant, but does it make the best pancakes?

Consumer Reports taste tested to see how IHOP pancakes stack up against the competition.

Testers went undercover to find who makes great-tasting buttermilk pancakes - eating at five major chains, including IHOP, Denny's and Cracker Barrel.

"Now, an excellent pancake should be tender and moist, not wet and pasty," Consumer Reports' Tod Marks said. "When it comes to the flavors, you really want get that hint of the grain."

IHOP claims its pancakes are "award-winning with...authentic country flavor."

"The IHOP pancakes looked better than they tasted," Marks said. "As the pancakes cooled, they became kind of tough."

Denny's pancakes tasted as if they came from a mix. So did ones from Country Kitchen.

The best pancakes came from Cracker Barrel and Perkins. They were cooked to a nice golden brown and tasted freshly prepared.

But even with the best restaurants, Consumer Reports found it's better to order pancakes in the morning.

"When we ordered the pancakes off the all-day menu, we sometimes found that they picked up flavors of other foods cooked on the grill," Marks said. "And frankly, they weren't as good."

As for the syrup, Cracker Barrel was the only restaurant where it contains real maple. Though it wasn't 100 percent pure maple syrup, Cracker Barrel does serve it warm.

Consumer Reports compared pure maple syrup to a variety of other types to see which tastes best and found the result to be no contest. Hands down, real maple syrup tastes the best, it said. But you don't want to overdo it, as there are 200 calories in a quarter cup, compared to 20 in sugar-free syrup.

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